The life of the city

Max Kay.

FORMER Perth deputy mayor Michael Sutherland was deeply saddened to hear about the death of entertainer Max Kay. They served together on Perth city council from 2004-2008. Mr Sutherland gave The Voice an affectionate account of “Max in the City”.

BEING a people’s person who was full of ideas and energy, Max added life, vigour and verve to the council.

Marketing and “razzmatazz” were his strongpoints, he was always interested in exploring ways to add vitality to the city.

Max was different to the run-of-the-mill local government representative, he was well suited to represent our capital city.

He didn’t just talk-the-talk; he did the work.

He ran the “Speakers Forum” on Sunday afternoons in Forrest Place, an initiative which unfortunately did not continue after he left.

As you can imagine he had many interesting stories to tell about the more colourful participants.

Together with the Lord Mayor at the time, Dr Peter Nattrass, he stood in the Hay Street Mall day-after-day to stoke up public opposition to the state government’s plan to build a huge office building smack-bang against the newly refurbished Town Hall.

They won, the plan was scrapped!

As someone who understood the entertainment industry Max was one of the council representatives on the Perth Theatre Trust, he wanted theatre and the arts to flourish.

Some functions that councillors need to attend are not all glitz and glamour,  they can sometimes be “borrrring”.

Not so when Max was around. We always hoped that we would be seated with Max and Norma as the night would pass quickly and be filled with jokes and laughs. 


When Max and I both stood for Lord Mayor in 2008 I found it hard to say negative things about him.

This is unusual in competitive politics. Despite some minor skirmishes, we remained friends.

Although I was his opponent, and did not think so at the time, he would have made a very good Lord Mayor, he would have been different.

Unfortunately Max bowed out of city politics after losing the mayoral election. During his time as a councillor, Max made the City of Perth a better place.

After his stint on council, Max maintained his interest in the arts and in the  various activities in the city. I saw him and Norma  around the traps often.

On a personal level, Max was unselfish with his time and helped me whenever I asked.

I found him to be a down-to-earth person who could mix with kings and paupers alike.

Max called a spade a spade and importantly was not politically correct.

There were no airs and graces about him, people could expect a friendly greeting and a chat.

He was a person who endeared himself to those he met.

I wish Norma and her family all the very best.

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